Birmingham Area Real Estate Sales Robust in December

Birmingham Area MLS* Monthly Observations for December 2014


A short sweet summary of the Year and quarter:

Total unit sales year to year: 2013: 15920 2014: 16744  a 5% increase

4th quarter unit sales   2013: 3361    2014: 3479    a 4% increase

Prices: (based on an average of 12 month average prices)

New   2013: $271,813   2014: $284,082   a 5% increase

Used 2013: $171,313   2014: $178,040   a 4% increase


New   2013: 864    2014: 815   a 6% reduction

Used 2013: 8487 2014: 7874 a 7% reduction

Dollar sales in December improved by 23% to $233,754,358 from November’s $190,787,845, up by 11% over last December’s $211,145,543. The 12 month moving average line for total dollar sales is showing a very steady upward trend indicating modest and consistent growth.

Total Unit sales were up 10% to 1,144 in December from 1,039 in November, an increase of 105. This is up 2% from last December at 1,121. New sales increased by 48 units to 171 homes this month from 123 in November and up from 139 last year. Used sales were 973 homes in December, up 6% from 916 last month, an increase of 57, and down by 9 units from 982 last year(Sect E p.3). Note the higher growth in Dollars (11%) compared to Units (2%) year to year, indicating stronger pricing.

Keeping in mind the ACRE numbers are slightly different from those we report, From ACRE: ”Forecast: December sales results were 1.1 percent or 11 units below our monthly forecast. The Center projected 12,845 closed transactions for the market in 2014 while the actual sales were 12,539 units, representing a variance of 2.4 percent.” We determined that the Birmingham MLS is assigning some sales to the Talladega market which were previously reported as part of Birmingham, thus reducing the reported sales in Birmingham, so the forecast is probably a bit more accurate than it appears on a “comparable” basis. With Acre we will be releasing our forecast for 2015 soon so stay tuned. Based on what I see so far I would expect pretty healthy market gains.

This month total inventory is 12% lower at 8,689 vs. last month at 9,905 and 9,351 last year. The drop in the current month is caused by month-end expirations which should come back on the market. Active New listings decreased to 815 in December from 1,098 in November, a decline of 283 units (Sect E p.3).  

Housing permits were down in Jefferson County to 72 in November from 113 in October. Shelby County went from 20 to 10 in November.

Absorption rate for New homes is at 6 months supply this month which is one month better than last year at this time. Last month though, shows 8 months of supply (Sect E p.3). The New homes for the most part have normal inventory levels in the 1-7 month range. (Sect C p.1 and Sect E p.3.)

Absorption for Used homes in December shows 7 months, one month better than 8 months last year. Used Active listings at 7,874 are lower than the 8,487 last year (Sect E p.3). Market performance is highly area specific, so check the individual area charts. For instance, Mountain Brook has about two months of inventory except in the over $900,000 category, which has 6 months of inventory (32 homes) with five sold in that price range last month . The average days on market for that category is 178. There are a number of MLS areas showing similarly low levels of inventory, including Homewood and Centerpoint.

Birmingham area Average Days on Market for New houses is 189. The Used homes DOM was 134 in December, (Sect A p.18). Average sales price for Sold New homes increased to $310,781 from $275,989 last month (Sect A p2). Average sales price for Sold Used homes increased to $185,623 from $171,224 last month (Sect A p2). The moving average price for all homes has been up steadily for the past year. (Sect A p2).

TWB 1/16/2015

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